Northern Ireland

Family of man shot by undercover British army unit believes inquest into his killing will beat Legacy Bill deadline

Patrick Duffy was shot up to 14 times by an undercover British army unit.
Patrick Duffy was shot up to 14 times by an undercover British army unit. Patrick Duffy was shot up to 14 times by an undercover British army unit.

THE family of a man who was shot dead by an undercover British army unit hope a new coroner’s ruling means his inquest will beat a deadline set by the British government’s Legacy Bill.

Relatives of father-of-six, Patrick Duffy (50) claimed last year that Ministry of Defence (MoD) delays in providing information could stop the inquest from going ahead.

However, at a preliminary hearing this week, coroner, Fiona Bagnall ruled the inquest should open on a modular “substantive evidence” basis.

Mr Duffy was unarmed when he was shot while at an IRA arms dump in Derry in November 1978.

A new inquest was granted in 2019. However claims by the MoD that a security vet of some files would not start until April, threatened to prevent the inquest from opening before the Legacy Bill deadline.

Judge Bagnall ruled this week the inquest would open and said she intended setting a date at the next preliminary hearing on February 9.

Solicitor Patricia Coyle said her clients wanted to find out the exact circumstances of their father’s death.

“My clients very much welcome the decision by the coroner" she said.

Ms Coyle said the family hoped Judge Bagnall’s “modular approach” could be considered in other outstanding legacy inquests.